Character Restrictions in Warmachine – Hordes tournaments look to be here to stay. Let’s break down Skorne’s characters and where they fit.
Steamroller 2012 introduced Character Restrictions across the board. There was of course some whining and moaning when the rules were first released, but I think on the whole these changes have been very well received. I would be very surprised if these restrictions didn’t carry on into steamroller 2013. I for one have really enjoyed the new character restrictions. It means I see a whole lot less of certain solos (though I still seem to fight armies with Gorman, Eiryss, Janessa, etc), and it also challenges me to use some new models.
Hordes generally got hit less with character restrictions than Warmachine. We really don’t have as many characters to start with, and without access to merc solos we don’t have those tempting options like Rhupert and Gorman (yes, I am going to drop Gorman’s name a lot. I really hate that guy). When I was starting out with Skorne, I often built lists with zero character models (aside from the warlock of course). We just don’t need them in every list.
On the other hand, Skorne has access to a couple of really sweet characters. There are a few that are just nice to have, but we have a couple of very powerful character pieces. In a tournament, you tend to want to bring the strongest models you can. This will often include some characters. The challenge is finding a way to choose which caster gets which characters. How you make those decisions is up to you. Today I want to show you a method I have used in selecting my characters for events, and some thoughts on each of our character models. As a side note, I am not going to delve real deep into the abilities of each character. I’m assuming that you have the cards for them or that you will at least go look them up on Battle college if you’re not familiar with them.
I am going to go through a list of each character model available in the Skorne army. For each character, we will look at which casters “need” that character the most. Casters that like using that specific character will be ranked in descending order. It’ll make more sense as we go, don’t worry. Once the list is complete, you can use it as a reference when building your lists. So if I am taking eHexeris and eMakeda to an event, I will probably want to bring Marketh with one of them. I’ll look at Marketh on my list and see which of those two casters scored higher. odds are Marketh will go in that list.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but it helps me in my list-making. If I take the time to objectively look at each character and what they bring to the game under each caster, it will be easier for me to compare their benefits in different lists when the time comes. Your list will likely look different than mine. I encourage you to use a method like this to choose your own characters (even if you don’t play Skorne).
OK, enough set up. Let’s dive in.
The Molik Missile himself. For some reason, this is the character that many opponents seem to hate. His name gets dropped in character restriction conversations almost as much as Gorman’s. Honestly I don’t know why people hate him so much. In my opinion, he’s not our strongest character, and certainly not our strongest beast. That said, he is very strong in certain lists.
Molik is one of the easier choices in our list of characters. He’s OK in most lists, but there are only a few casters that really make him shine. On top of the pile is Makeda. Either Makeda works just fine with him. Really, without the speed buffs from these two you don’t have a Molik Missile. With eMakeda you have leash + RtW and a feat giving boosted attack rolls. pMakeda gives him the same threat range with savagery, and buffs his hitting ability with Carnage. More importantly, they both give him an additional Fury. The jump from Fury 4 to Fury 5 cannot be overstated. It’s amazing.
After the Makedas, the only casters I consider Karn with are eMorghoul and Zaal. eMorghoul gets some good benefits from Fate Walker, and does a good job of delivering Karn with Ghost Walk. Really with an emorghoul list, I try to stack multiple assassination vectors. Karn is a very viable vector, and will often draw some attention away from eMorgoul even if he doesn’t bag the kill. And finally we have Zaal. It can be hard to justify 11 points on one beast with Zaal, but Molik Karn with Last Stand and the feat will kill almost anything in the game (hitting DEF 21 on average and doing 72 damage to arm 20 in a turn on average…)
The new kid on the block. Tiberion is like taking a Titan Sentry and a Bronzeback and slapping them together. for one point more than a Bronzeback you get slightly more hitting power, more armor, reach, shield guard and a model that isn’t going anywhere. While we’re all still trying to get the most out of a brand new model, I have some intial thoughts on who he works well with.
In my mind, pMakeda is a clear winner with Tiberion. Defenders Ward and an agonizer will keep this guy in the fight for a very long time. He makes a great center to a pMakeda list, allowing the majority of the list to do the normal hit and run attrition that Makeda loves while he sits in a zone and makes sure you don’t lose on control points. He can also dish out the damage if needed under savagery and carnage.
After Makeda, I would take Tiberion with other casters that work to his strengths. pMorghoul is a great option, since he can give Tiberion better speed and quick access to pow 22 attacks. Just don’t try putting Admonition on the big guy… Naaresh is a good choice, as Tiberion will hit stupid hard on feat turn and be really tough to get rid of on the next turn. By that same logic you would think Xerxis would be good with him, but I honestly don’t like that pairing very much. I tried it, but I felt like I would get a lot more out of a gladiator/bronzeback instead of swapping either for Tiberion.
Honestly, in most situations any caster that uses a Bronzeback could get good use out of Tiberion. However, none of them make him sing quite like pMakeda does.
Our only character unit/UA so far, Vorkesh honestly doesn’t see a whole lot of tournament play. I don’t even own the model. I don’t have a lot to say about him. Cetrati only see use in a few lists already, and the odds of even taking the unit twice in a tournament is unlikely. If you like the spell ward go for it. I like Cetrati better without him in the first place so I can give them savagery or defenders ward.
If it wasn’t for character restrictions, this guy would be in every flank force I ever built. Really Rhadeim is good because of how independent he is. Most of the time your buff spells will be on other models and you’ll let this guy run up a flank on his own, smacking things with an armor piercing spear of doom. There are a few casters he’s very good with. Once again, pMakeda is a top contender. Savagery on this guy makes it very hard to kill him before he gets to your army (he has a 20 inch threat range with immunity to free strikes… try hiding from that).
He is also good in lists that run a lot of assassination vectors like eMorghoul. If you’re going to go for an assassination, might as well build a list with as many assassins in it as possible.
Finally, lists with Ferox will like having Rhadeim to help them out a bit. A flanking force of Ferox and Rhadeim can do a lot of damage. If you’re using Ferox with Zaal or Mordikaar, I would include this guy.
The ancestral guardian character is a really sweet model, but he honestly doesn’t see a ton of play. 4 points is a lot for what he does, especially with his low speed. Casters that buff his speed will of course be very useful. The one caster that really wants him is Zaal. Free souls from Zaal, Last Stand makes him crazy, and after he’s done making his last stand he becomes a Kovass. I never take Zaal without this guy.
Next on my list would be eHexeris. I have actually been enjoying Practical Magic (the tier list for eHexeris).
And once again, pMakeda makes the list. Can you tell I run very character heavy pMakeda lists? If you leave savagery on Hakaar at the end of a turn, his righteous vengeance move will be 9″. He’ll then get another 9″ walk if you upkeep, getting him very far up the field with his very high mat and good hitting power. I don’t often run him with pMakeda, but there is definitely some good value there.
2. eHexeris T4
I saved the hardest choice for last. Most of the characters aren’t too hard to pick a caster for. Marketh is in my opinion our best character option. He just gives us so much for a measly 3 points. ‘Free’ upkeeps and free spells are just huge. Just look at how excited Legion players are about the Succubus. Marketh is that turned up to 11. Unfortunately, only one caster can take him.
There are few casters that don’t like Marketh as much. It’s easier to point them out than the ones that do like him. Naaresh really has no use for Marketh since he upkeeps with HP instead of fury and doesn’t really cast much each turn. pMorghoul doesn’t get much out of him. Rasheth has a pile of fury and arcs off his own models. eMakeda doesn’t have any use for him other than a free stranglehold. Pretty much everyone else likes him to some degree.
But if we have to pick only one caster to use Marketh with, we have to narrow it down a bit. He is best with casters who have multiple upkeeps, and/or cast a lot of spells in a turn. He is at his best when used with a caster who likes juggling upkeeps. Sadly, once again this puts pMakeda at the very top of my list. If you doubt this choice, you probably haven’ fully experienced a good Skorne player playing the savagery juggling game. The options are endless. I upkeep savagery on the cheap, then move whoever had it to start with. Makeda goes, casting it again and using carnage. She still has 3 fury to play with. Then Marketh puts it on another model/unit later in the turn. No other caster plays the juggling game like Makeda.
After Makeda, Zaal and eHexeris are very close in the running. I tend to like him a little more with Zaal simply because Zaal is often too far back to get last stand where I need it. Marketh does a good job of moving up and tossing Last Stand on something like a Kovass that is up in the opponent’s grill. Also, casting and boosting a Hex Blast makes that spell much more useful.
eHexeris likes Marketh a lot. He has 3 upkeeps, and slings spells like a champ. Marketh can juggle black spot against armies with a lot of infantry, or can drop an extra hellfire. He also lets me actually make use of Arcane Reckoning since he can cast it without costing Hexeris a whopping 3 Fury.
These are easily my top 3. Marketh influences my list building choices so much that I rarely play any of these 3 casters together in a tournament. I tend to pick my “Marketh Caster” and then a caster who doesn’t need Marketh as much who can fill some gaps for me. Is he a crutch? maybe. Do I feel bad about using him? Not as long as I keep seeing Gorman on the table…
Honorable Mention: Minions/Mercs
|haha I wish… I hate this guy|
I personally don’t use very many merc/minion support pieces. The one exception is Orin Midwinter. Even Midwinter doesn’t usually end up on my list of characters. I use him often enough, but he depends more on what my opponent has than on what I have. I take him with either Morghoul pretty often, everyone else is a toss-up.
The other Minions don’t offer us a ton that we don’t get in faction. If you really want Saxon Orik in 2 lists, you just bring a Tyrant Commander in one list. Lesser Warlocks are very rare in Skorne with our amazing beast options in faction. Totem Hunter might show up every once in a while on a flank, but he’s not really highly sought after. Other characters show up from time to time, but none are common and I don’t own any of them.
What method(s) do you use in choosing characters? how restricted do you feel by SR 2012? Do you have any power solos like Marketh that dictate what casters you play together in a tournament?